Delving into the original records of Rock county for information, one finds that the first entry in Record book A is a copy of the proceedings of the county board of Brown county on August 1, 1888. At this meeting M. E. Freeman and others filed with the county commissioners a petition asking for a division of Brown County and the formation of a new county to be called Rock. In this petition is quoted the boundary lines of the proposed new county. The next day the board passed a resolution submitting the proposed question to the voters of the county and set the date of the regular election, November 6, 1888 as the day on which the voters might make their decision. The election notice was signed by C. F. Boyd, county clerk of Brown County. The election gave a vote of 1429 for the division, and 689 votes as being opposed to a division.
Governor Thayer then issued a proclamation ordering a special election to be held December 24, 1888, for naming officers and locating the county seat.
This election resulted in naming the following:
Clerk, W. T. Phillips
Treasurer, J. D. Likens
Judge, F. N. Morgan
Sheriff, Henry Harris
Coroner, A. J. Taylor
Superintendent, W. H. Rugg
Attorney, A. H. Tingle
A. H. Gale
The question of location of the county seat gave Bassett 315 votes; Newport, 179; Thurman, 156; Tracy, 93; Rock Center, 24.
The first meeting of the new county board was held January 8, 1889, and by a resolution adopted, Bassett was made temporary county seat. As none of the contesting points had received a majority of votes, a special election was held January 29, 1889 and as a result thereof, Bassett was made permanent county seat.
Later at a joint meeting of Brown and Rock county boards for the purpose of arriving at assessed valuations of the two counties, it was found that Rock county’s assessed valuation was placed at $439,042.00; that Brown county’s valuation was placed at $994,341.00
A. M. Brinkerhoff was one of the county commissioners of Brown when Rock became a separate commonwealth. The family came to the county in 1878 and settled near the Niobrara River. Other members of the Brinkerhoff family were John H. Putnam and these families selected land in the extreme northwest corner of what is now Rock County.
Later coming to that section was the A. C. Kendall family, locating nearby in 1884. Mr. Kendall in 1904 established in his place, Cuba post office of which he was postmaster for a number of years.
When the Putnam family located on Pine creek there was not another family along the creek. Mr. Putnam built the first school in that locality and a little later established the first Sunday school west of O’Neill. Later the F. E. Stockwell family located upstream on Pine creek, some three miles from Long Pine in 1879. Other early day residents of the Niobrara river family were the Turpins, who settled near what is now the Mariaville and Kirkwood neighborhoods in 1878. The following year there came to this neighborhood the families of Edward G. Green and the Thomas Peacocks. Mr. Peacock established Mariaville post office at his farm in 1882 and was postmaster for many years.